March 22, 2013
Things are starting to get serious now. Everything we do for the next four weeks is going to be directed at getting the engine running. We made a list of all the tasks required, everything from installing the fuse box to filling the engine with oil, and it worked out to 53 steps. The longest, at six hours, is installing the engine. We think we can beat that time, but you never know, so we'll leave it at six hours.
The total hours for all 53 steps is 112. We think we can beat that, too. Each step is budgeted for at least one hour, and we're pretty sure we can do some of them, like attaching the return springs to the pedals, in just a few minutes. But some of the steps might take longer than we estimated, so we'll stick with the 112 hours. And just like we did with the rolling chassis, we'll count down the steps and hours as we go along for those of you keeping score at home.
Unfortunately, getting the car running won't be the same as taking it for its first drive. For that, we'll need three items we don't have yet: a fuel tank, shocks, and probably most important, a driveshaft. To start the engine we can let the fuel pump draw from one of our many red plastic gas containers, but when we're driving the car we may want something less likely to spill. Springs and shocks would also be a good idea, less for the comfort of the driver and more to reduce stress on the chassis.
So the first drive will be a few weeks after the first start, but getting the car running is the big milestone for now. The engine has been sitting for a year and the sooner we get oil running through the galleries again, the better. We think that once everything is in place the engine should fire right up. We drained the fuel out of the carbs last year so hopefully they won't need rebuilding again.
This week we finished most of the plumbing, installed the hand brake, and hooked up the steering. None of this is required to start the engine, but it's easier to do it now before we put the engine in the car. We're actually very close now to having working hydraulic brakes, although we can't bolt in the master cylinder until the scuttle is attached, and we can't attach the scuttle until the paint looks halfway decent. Which it doesn't currently. Not even close. Maybe we can try painting it again tomorrow.
The M.G. steering column also needs to be attached to the scuttle, but everything else on the steering is done, including adding notches to the connector shaft so we could insert pinch bolts and clamp the u-joints to the shaft. We tested the flexible brake lines at full left and right lock, and nothing pulled loose so it looks like we're good to go there. We still don't have a cover for the steering column where it passes through the engine bay, but duct tape is looking better all the time.
The last of the plumbing will be the clutch hydraulics. We bent up the old line from the donor to see if we could get it to fit in the car. We thought it might be too long, but it actually wasn't too bad, just one extra little jog on the passenger firewall. As crusty and brittle as the old line is, we could almost use it. It's only the clutch, after all. But the dull gray finish clashes with our shiny new brake lines, and it's kind of lumpy, so we'll order a new line from Moss Motors, only about $30 and well worth it on looks alone.
Our next step on the long road to getting the car running will be installing the battery and the wiring harness. We only need to hook up the starter, starter relay, alternator, and oddly the tachometer, since the ignition wiring apparently runs through it, but we'll run all of the wires through the car now while we have the space to do it. Later on if we happen to get any other electrical components to work, bonus.
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